That’s hard to say: Even Barnes & Noble can’t articulate why consumers might favor its planned digital video purchase and rental service over its more established rivals. There’s no word on how much movies and TV shows will cost. It’ll be “incredibly competitive,” says B&N General Manager of Emerging Digital Content Jonathan Shar. We don’t know how many movies and TV shows B&N will offer, or how recent most titles will be. We don’t even know whether it will work with all flavors of Apple and Android powered devices. “As one of the world’s largest retailers of physical video discs and digital copyrighted content, our new NOOK Video service will give our customers another way to be entertained with a vast and growing digital video collection, as part of our expansive NOOK Store,” CEO William Lynch says.
Here’s what we do know: B&N says that NOOK Video will be available in the U.S. beginning this fall, and in the UK by the holiday season. It has deals with HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, Viacom and Warner Bros. Entertainment to offer “blockbuster movies, classic films and original TV shows” — and promises to offer “favorite movies” from Disney. The company adds that it plans to “make available content from other leading studios to be announced.” For now, though, titles include Disney-Pixar’s Brave and Toy Story 3, Marvel’s The Avengers, 21 Jump Street, Awkward, The Artist, Breaking Bad, Dora the Explorer, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Spartacus, Magic City, The Walking Dead, True Blood, Game Of Thrones, Harry Potter movies, The Dark Knight, The Hangover “and many more.”
Consumers will be able to watch the productions on NOOKs, TVs, tablets and smartphones. Content will be available to be downloaded and streamed, in standard or high definition. It’ll be stored in the company’s new NOOK Cloud. That, in turn, will link to consumers’ UltraViolet accounts — the entertainment industry’s initiative that enables people to stream copies of certain movies that they buy on DVD or Blu-ray discs. “We’ll make it incredibly easy and friction free,” Shar says. The company adds that the NOOK Video app that’ll be introduced soon will make it possible for customers to “pick up watching right where they left off on any of their connected devices.”